Telehealth Services and Counseling during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many had to think about creative workarounds and reconstruct their norm. The same applies to counselors/therapists that provide treatment, causing many to turn to telehealth.

Telehealth — or telemedicine — is a 2-way communication technology for counselors and therapists to help safely and securely conduct their services from a remote location via video and audio chat, enabling flexibility and attainability for many. 

What is HIPAA compliance?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) legislated provisions to protect health information in 1996.  HIPAA only applies to organizations and providers who quality as  ‘covered entities.’ Health care providers who transmit protected health information (PHI) in connection with certain administrative or financial transactions are covered entities and must comply with HIPAA regulations.

According to the  BHCOE (Behavioral Health Center of Excellence), below are some HIPAA compliant behavioral health tele-health platforms:

CarePaths: CarePaths EHR is a fully-integrated cloud-based behavioral electronic health record and practice management platform. Their system includes online video therapy, a patient portal, scheduling, secure messaging, claims and billing management, and ePrescribe. 

ChironHealth: ChironHealth is a brandable telemedicine platform with insurance eligibility checking, scheduling, a virtual waiting room, and video. ChironHealth guarantees private payer reimbursement for telemedicine video visits.

CloudVisit: CloudVisit is a custom video conference application that maximizes the efficiency of quality control processes by allowing staff to remotely inspect and document work on distant job sites without ever having to leave the office. One of their services is telepsychiatry, which connects psychiatrists and other mental health providers with their patients via online video sessions. 

DigiGone: DigiGone’s platform supports secure and sufficient health solutions for remote global operations while minimizing the use of bandwidth. 

Doxy.me: Doxy.me is a simple, aesthetically pleasing, free and secure telemedicine solution. While there are premium options that have a monthly cost, Doxy.me offers discounts for educators, non-profits, those serving the military and veterans, and more. 

eVisit: eVisit is telemedicine designed by providers, for providers. It provides 2-way HD video, ePrescribe, medical charting, automated patient engagement emails and on-boarding support. 

InTouch Health: InTouch Health provides a single, integrated telehealth experience across a multitude of use cases, environments and budgets. 

iPath: iPath is a free, open source store-and-forward platform for a collaborative exchange of medical knowledge, distance consultations, group discussions and distance teaching in medicine. iPath does not offer video.

MedSymphony: MedSymphony’s platform includes everything needed to establish a telemedicine practice: a completely cloud-based HIPAA compliant solution with integrated HD video conferencing, online prescription ordering coupled with SMS, MMS and email integrations, and automated billing. 

Secure Telehealth: Secure Telehealth is a HIPAA-compliant telehealth software that allows specialists to provide high-quality health care services anywhere and at any time of day. 

SecureVideo: SecureVideo can be customized to fit any use case and workflow. Its platform includes scheduling and optional PayPal integration. They also have expansive technical support services. 

SightCall: SightCall is a video cloud platform that significantly improves operational efficiency and facilitates real-time critical patient communication. It provides a development framework composed of APIs and mobile SDKs to provide a full collaboration experience. SightCall relies on WebRTC and other technology to make real-time communication available on every device. 

SnapMD: The SnapMD Connected Care telemedicine platform allows providers to extend their reach of care by leveraging secure one-on-one or multi-participant live video, audio and text message consultations between ambulatory patients and their primary care and specialty care physicians. Their SaaS solution is a cloud-based HIPAA and HITECH compliant communications platform.

thera-LINK: thera-LINK is a telemental health platform with scheduling, ePAY and file storage. It uses WebRTC video and offers easy scheduling, accepts client patients, and offers group or family sessions. 

Vidyo: Vidyo’s patented platform integrates with virtually any application, environment, network and device to deliver the highest quality video for telehealth. 

Virtual Therapy Connect: Virtual Therapy Connect delivers HIPAA-compliant tools that are private, confidential and convenient so that parents and guardians can connect with their therapist in a secure online environment. 

WeCounsel: WeCounsel connects behavioral professionals to health organizations at the patient’s preferred source of care. It’s an on-demand telehealth solution that offers a mobile cloud-based solution, access to on-demand sessions, schedule management, client engagement tools, online assessments and client intake, and client eCommerce billing.

With that being said, as virtual medicine and telebehavioral health become increasingly popular, the options available for counselors/therapists also increase. If you are interested in offering Telehealth services and you do not know which platform to use or how to get started, feel free to reach out for more information.

Resources:

https://bhcoe.org/2020/03/hipaa-compliant-telehealth-softwares/

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